In July 2004, when paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso was demobilising, he admitted to the Colombian parliament that the illegal extreme rightwing forces controlled 35 percent of the seats. Ten years later the situation is very similar: one-third of the new senate, where congressional power mainly resides, is allegedly linked to the paramilitaries.
A strike declared nearly two weeks ago in Colombia by farmers and joined later by truck drivers, health workers, miners and students spread to include protests in the cities before mushrooming into a general strike Thursday, demanding changes in the government’s economic policies.
Death threats are hardly uncommon in Colombia. In fact, if you are a human rights activist, they are practically guaranteed.
Almost a quarter of a million Colombians have been killed in the country's internal conflict since 1958, most of them civilians, a government-funded report has said.
Drugs and arms traffickers are muscling in on Colombia's Pacific coastal region, forcibly displacing local people, according to a new report by the Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES).
The crisis in Venezuela caused by the violent opposition of followers of Henrique Capriles, who is accusing President Nicolás Maduro of election fraud, and peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas in Havana, are occupying the attention of national and foreign media.
People in the streets and squares of the Colombian capital are breathing easier. The air is fresh with hope, in contrast to the former leaden and fearful atmosphere of eternal violence and interminable conflict.
When 12 Colombian soldiers were killed by FARC insurgents a stone's throw away from the northern border with Venezuela, the consequences included military cooperation that reinforces the political, diplomatic and trade-related links that have developed over the past two years between Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.